Las Vegas Book Festival


Las Vegas Book Festival Exhibitions
September 21 – December 1, 2018

Tall Tales & Huge Hearts
Featuring the Artwork of Raul Colón
Las Vegas Book Festival Illustrated Word Exhibition
Mayor’s Gallery, Historic Fifth Street School
401 S. Fourth St.
An exhibition of original artwork of artist Raul Colón that opened at the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) in the fall of 2012. An award-winning illustrator of over 30 books for children, the industry has recognized Colón with a Golden Kite Award, two Pura Belpré Awards, a gold and silver medal from the Society of Illustrators, included twice in the “New York Public Library’s 100 titles for Reading and Sharing”; and been a two-time recipient of The Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children’s Award. This exhibition, features over 18 titles from Colón, showcasing artwork from books such as Tomás and the Library Lady (1997), Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburg Pirates (2005), Doña Flor (2005), Angela and the Baby Jesus (2008) and Child of the Civil Rights Movement (2009).  Colón uses a unique technique in his artwork to create texture and rich, deep colors. The illustrations done on watercolor paper combine watercolor washes, etching, and the use of colored and litho pencils. For information, visit or call 702-229-ARTS (2787).

October 11 – November 29, 2018

Las Vegas Book Festival Illustrated Word Exhibition
Nevada Humanities Program Gallery
1017 S. 1st St, #190
Artist Reception: Thursday, November 1
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. 
Curators’ Talk, Erik Beehn, David Ryan, and RC Wonderly at 7:00 p.m.
In celebration of the Las Vegas Book Festival Nevada Humanities has partnered with Test Site Projects, a fine art publishing house, to produce a print portfolio of limited edition, collaborative works created by pairing literary and visual artists.  The pairings include: Sam Gilpin and Sean Slattery; Oscar Oswald and Daniel Habegger; Lolita Hernandez and Marcus Civin; Vogue Robinson and Lance Smith; and Erica Vital-Lazare and JK Russ.  
Portfolio Project Studio Tour: Saturday, November 17, at 2:00 p.m. Join the team at Test Site Projects, 1551 S. Commerce St., Las Vegas, NV to see how this project was created.
For more information visit: or call 702-800-4670.

Las Vegas Book Festival
Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Las Vegas Writes Project 
Live Through This: An Anthology of Unnatural Disasters
Stories and Essays by Las Vegas Writers 
Book Launch and Conversation with the Authors
7 PM
Clark County Library Theatre 
1401 East Flamingo Road
Conversation moderated by Scott Dickensheets and Geoff Schumacher.
Megan Edwards
Kim Foster
Jon Hay
Jarret Keene
Andrew Kiraly
C. Moon Reed
Lissa Townsend Rogers
Jason Scavone
David G. Schwartz
F. Andrew Taylor
Kristy Totten
Edited by Scott Dickensheets and Geoff Schumacher 
Cover Image: Robert Beckmann
Short stories and essays about how haywire Las Vegas can get!
Vegas was built on billions of intimate unnatural disasters―bad turns of the cards, unfortunate rolls of the dice. In both fiction and essays, this wide-ranging anthology extends the dynamic of unnatural disasters beyond the gaming parlors and into the streets, homes, and other eccentric spaces of Las Vegas.
Among the nonfiction, you’ll descend into a decades-old atomic bunker, given new relevance as international relations tense; meet a man tinkering with his own brain chemicals in hopes of improving his chess game; follow a foster mother as she negotiates the fraught relations with the drug-addicted biological mother of the children in her care; gauge the meaning of post-shooting #VegasStrong through the lens of the popular video game Fallout: New Vegas.
The fiction is equally eclectic, taking in the Las Vegas of the past (Bugsy Siegel and Veronica Lake on the eve of the Flamingo’s opening), the present (a down-and-out journalist drifts into danger as he investigates what appeared to be an accidental disaster), and the future (an Oceans’ 11-style sci-fi romp). Together, these writings show some of the many ways that life in Las Vegas is shaped by things going haywire―and, sometimes, by how we overcome disaster.
Publication credit listing: Las Vegas Writes Project is supported by public funding for the literary arts through the Las Vegas Book Festival, Nevada Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, the city of Las Vegas Office of Cultural Affairs, and Huntington Press.

Las Vegas Book Festival
Saturday, October 20, 2018

9:00 AM
PBS: The Great American Read
Moderated by Jessica Russell; Featuring: Chet Buchanan, Regina Johnson, Sreshtha Sen, Casey Smith, and Stephanie Werkema
THE GREAT AMERICAN READ is an eight-part PBS series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey)*.  It investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience.  Join us as panelists discuss their favorite book from the list.  The first 100 attendees will receive a free book from The Great American Read novel list, courtesy of Vegas PBS.
11:00 AM
Cyberbullying and Pretty Little Liars
Keynote: Sara Shephard
12:30 PM
George Saunders, Maile Chapman, Sorayya Khan, Vu Tran & Others on "What My Teacher Taught Me”
Featuring: George Saunders, Sorayya Khan, Vu Tran, Douglas Unger, Brittany Bronson, Paula Saunders, Ernie Wang, and Maile Chapman.
2:30 PM
Luis J. Rodriguez: From Trauma to Transformation
Keynote: Luis Rodriguez
4:00 PM
Revisiting the Underground Railroad
Keynote: Colson Whitehead
7:30 PM
Las Vegas Book Festival After Dark
The Pioneering of the Self in All Spaces: Afrofuturism and the Black-Body-Psyche Unbound
Moderated by Niela Orr; featuring: Nnedi Okorafor, Gregory Tate and Ingrid LaFleur
The Pioneering of the Self in All Spaces: Afrofuturism and the Black-Body-Psyche Unbound is both conversation and libation as Hugo and Nebula award winning Sci-Fantasy novelist Nnedi Okorafor, along with cultural-critic and artist Gregory Tate, and 2017 mayoral candidate, Ingrid LaFleur, meet to discuss literature, music and iconography which advances the theme of Black, multi-gendered, and other bodied characters in sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, music and pop culture. Okorafor is currently writing the new Black Panther comic series telling the tales of the female warrior contingent, The Dora Miljae; and her 2010 World Fantasy Award-winner for Best Novel, Who Fears Death, has been adapted as a series for HBO. Veteran staff writer for The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, VIBE and The New York Times, Tate is a founding member of the Black Rock Coalition, and LaFleur's platform brought the idea of an Afrotopia and "the equitable distribution of the future" into Detroit politics.  This panel was inspired by Gregory Tate's essay and address on Afrofuturism entitled "Kalahari Hopscotch," published in the inaugural edition of The Believer, and will be moderated by writer-radio producer Niela Orr, a current BMI Writer-in-Residence whose work has been featured in New York Times Book Review, BuzzFeed, Elle, The Believer and Salon.   
Empowered Tent
Welcome to Our Worlds: Young Adult Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Featuring: Scott Westerfeld, Alexandra Monir, Axie Oh, Adrianne Finlay
Thriller Time: Young Adult Mysteries and Thrillers
Featuring: Demetra Brodsky, Tracy Deebs, Stephanie Kuehn
Things Just Got Real: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Featuring: Renée Watson, B.T. Gottfred , Nicole Maggi, Kasie West
The Sporting Life: Young Adult Books with Sports as Part of the Stories 
Featuring: Julian Winters, Demetra Brodsky, Erin Finnegan
Hero or Villain: Superheroes and Villains for Teens and Adults
Featuring: Nnedi Okorafor, CB Lee, Sarah Kuhn
Inspired Tent
9:00 AM
Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy: Adventure, Chills, and Thrills, Sci-Fi and Horror stories from Las Vegas authors
Featuring: Katie Salidas, Timothy Chizmar, Mathew Kaufman, Mercedes M. Yardley
10:15 AM
Mystery and Mayhem: A variety of mysteries that will keep you guessing
Featuring: Lydia Kang, Megan Edwards, Wes Rand, Susan Lee
11:45 AM
Middle Matters: Middle Grade Stories for Everyone
Featuring: Jonathan Auxier, Mari Mancusi, Mae Respicio, Elly Swartz 
1:15 PM
When the Past & the Future Collide: Young Adult Sci-Fi, Dystopian, and Steampunk
Featuring: Sharon Cameron, Lyndsay Ely, Lydia Kang, Destiny Soria
2:45 PM
The World of Romance: Adult Romance featuring Diverse Characters and Stories
Featuring: HelenKay Dimon, Mia Sosa, Tracy Wolff
5:00 PM
Meet Me in the Middle: A Variety of Middle Grade Stories
Featuring: Kevin Emerson, Daphne Benedis-Grab, Jen Nails, Heidi Lang
Poetry Pavilion
9:15 AM
Poetry Power with Hanif Abdurraqib 
Moderator: Frank Johnson
10:30 AM
A Conversation and Poetry: Gregory Crosby Back in Town 
Moderator: Geoff Carter 
11:45 AM
You Can’t Have One Without the Other: Politics, Pop Culture, and Democracy Today
Todd Felts, Moderator; Hanif Abdurraqib, Tom Carson, Carina Chocano
From Archie Bunker’s living room to Saving Private Ryan to the latest hip-hop release, pop culture has frequently been an arena in which society wrestles with its political issues. Often the messaging in art is overt, sometimes it’s subtle, and at times it’s even absent — but even works of entertainment with no political intent can be politicized by the way they’re received. To explore this proxy debate, we’ve convened a stellar panel of cultural commentators: poet, critic, and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib, author of They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us; Carina Chocano, frequent New York Times Magazine contributor and author of You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Princesses, Trainwrecks, and Other Man-Made Women; and Tom Carson, an award-winning critic of film, TV, and books, whose work appears frequently in Playboy, The Baffler, and the Barnes & Noble Review.
This program is part of the “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils.  We thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.
1:00 PM
Spark! Youth Poetry Competition and Awards
Maryjane Dorofachuk, Vogue Robinson, Moderator
4:00 PM
The Heart of Poetry: Nevada Voices
Heather Lang, Moderator; Harry Fagel, Lolita Hernandez, Elizabeth Quiñones-Zaldaña
Imagination Tent (Readings)
10:00 AM
Nathan Hale, reading LAFAYETTE!
11:30 AM
Renée Watson, reading Harlem's Little Blackbird
12:45 PM
Ross Burach, reading Ducks in a Truck and Billy Bloo is Stuck in Goo
2:00 PM
3:15 PM
Daria Peoples Riley, reading This Is It
Discovery Tent (Music)
9:00 AM
Zak Morgan
10:30 AM
DJ – Library
11:00 AM
Lisa Loeb
12:30 PM
Sign Design Theatre
1:00 PM
Brian Laidlaw
2:30 PM
DJ - Library
3:00 PM
Lisa Loeb
4:30 PM
DJ - Library
5:00 PM
Zak Morgan
Engaged Tent (Illustration Demonstrations)
9:30 AM
Lauren Castillo, Imagine
10:45 AM
Juana Martinez-Neal, Alma and How She Got Her Name  
12:00 PM
Raúl Colón, IMAGINE!
1:15 PM
Aaron Becker, A Stone for Sascha
2:30 PM
Javaka Steptoe, RADIANT CHILD
Conference Room 140
The Self-Publishing Journey - How to Become a Successful Self-Published Author.
9:15 AM
Description forthcoming.
10:45 AM
LYRIC VERSUS LYRIC Workshop with Brian Laidlaw
Poet, Songwriter, Educator
LYRIC VERSUS LYRIC: This workshop looks at the ways that writers navigate the permeable boundary between poetry and music. We will discuss the fundamental differences between poems and songs - their temporalities, their forms - and consider how these constraints can inform our craft choices during the composition process. We will also consider the technique of ekphrasis, looking at examples of poems that a ekphrasis re based on popular music, as well as the related processes of adaptation and musical setting of poetic texts. 
As we consider these pieces, we will take note of the ways that our language and ideas must undergo either compression or expansion as they move between genres. Finally, we will spend some time writing a composition of our own - an original lyric poem, an original song lyric, or an adaptation from one form of lyric to the other.
12:15 PM
Essays in Bullet Time with Joshua Wheeler
Author of the critically acclaimed, Acid West: Essays
In this instructional talk participants learn to write what Wheeler calls a "bullet time" essay. In Essays in Bullet Time, Wheeler discusses broadly the history of story structures and the necessity of literary essays to push back at those traditional structures, using a kind of time manipulation (ie. the Matrix movies super slow "bullet time"). 
1:45 PM
Rhythm and Rhyme, The Craft of Writing and Living Your Music with Gregory Tate
Author, Guitarist and Song-Stylist.
Christened the “Godfather of Hip-Hop Journalism,” author, guitarist and song-stylist Gregory Tate of Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber will share his encyclopedic knowledge of methods and inspirations for melody construction, arranging, and production from decades as a bandleader and music critic. 
A co-founding member, arranger and songwriter for the Arkestra, Tate combines a heady mix of jazz, rock and funk-infused instrumentation with socially-conscious, soul-stirring lyricism reminiscent of the blues. The Arkestra released its first album, Blood on the Leaf, in 1999. Other albums include Not April in Paris:Live From the Banlieus Bleues and If You Can’t Dazzle Them With Your Brilliance—Then Baffle Them with Your Blisluth. The Arkestra’s latest release, All the Zombies Dig the Luminosity, features the head-bopping, guitar and lyric-fueled, tribute to Prince “Stop Trippin.” 
A staff writer at The Village Voice throughout the heyday of Hip-Hop, his essays have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Artforum, Rolling Stone, VIBE, Premiere, Essence, Suede, The Wire, One World, Downbeat, and JazzTimes. Award-winning author of Flyboy In The Buttermilk, Essays On Contemporary America,  Flyboy 2: The Greg Tate Reader, and Everything But The Burden What White People Are Taking From Black Culture, Gregory Tate  lives and works in Harlem.
3:15 PM
Poetry with Parents: Family-Writing Workshop with Jessica Russell, Vegas PBS, Ready to Learn Coordinator.
During this workshop, families will dive into the writing process to create poetry based on what they know best—their own lives.  Participants will discover ways to organize their thoughts and convey their feelings through fun activities designed to improve writing skills and bring family members closer together. Intended for families with children ages 8 and up.
5:00 PM
Global Self-Publishing: The best way to increase your book sales.
Description forthcoming.
Room 125
9:00 AM
Historical Fiction and the Search for a Usable Past, Moderator: John Hay
Historical fiction is a varied and popular genre that raises some fascinating questions for writers and readers. Some are obvious and practical: How does a story balance historical research and imagination? What level of factual accuracy about the past is appropriate? What are the limits when a writer uses actual figures from history? Other questions are subtler, but equally fundamental: How does a writer deal with social customs and values that have changed significantly over time? Is it tempting to impart contemporary attitudes (toward gender or race, for example) to characters from another time? How does — or should — a writer acknowledge the contemporary relevance of historical events? 
To discuss these and related topics, this panel features Paula Saunders, author of The Distance Home, set in postwar South Dakota; Amanda Skenandore, author of Between Earth and Sky, which deals with turn-of-the-century Native American boarding schools; and Adrienne Sharp, author of The Magnificent Esme Wells, set in mid-century Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
10:15 AM
On Im/migration: How Do We Define Home?
Derek Palacio's debut novel The Mortifications is at its center an immigrant story about the longing for home and family, and about re-creating both wherever one lands. UNLV PhD Fellow Joe Milan leads a discussion about what relationship we have with the places we've left behind. What is the connection between place and identity? What obligations do we have to our homes both old and new?
Derek Palacio is the author of the novella How to Shake the Other Man and the novel The Mortifications. He is a 2018 Black Mountain Institute Shearing Fellow and a co-director, with Claire Vaye Watkins, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada.
Joe Milan Jr. is a Black Mountain Institute PhD Fellow. He’s a US Navy brat, a Korean American hapa, and lived in Korea for nearly ten years. His work has appeared in wonderful places like: Books Actually’s Gold Standard 2016 Anthology, Broad Street, The Kyoto Journal, LitroNY, Numero Cinq, and others. He also holds a MFA in Fiction from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
12:00 PM
Sin City Moguls: Larger-Than-Life Lives
They are legendary names in Las Vegas: Howard Hughes. Kirk Kerkorian. Sheldon Adelson. Steve Wynn. Bob Stupak. A panel of esteemed biographers tells stories about these storied figures, and examines how the modern history of Las Vegas is unimaginable without them. 
William C. Rempel is the author of The Gambler: How Penniless Dropout Kirk Kerkorian Became the Greatest Dealmaker in Capitalist History. Geoff Schumacher, senior director of content at the Mob Museum, has written Howard Hughes: Power, Paranoia, & Palace Intrigue, as well as Sun, Sin & Suburbia: The History of Modern Las Vegas. Among the books by journalist and biographer John L. Smith is Running Scared: The Life and Treacherous Times of Las Vegas Casino King Steve Wynn; No Limit: The Rise and Fall of Bob Stupak and Las Vegas’ Stratosphere Tower; and Sharks in the Desert: The Founding Fathers and Current Kings of Las Vegas.
1:15 PM
Sports Panel TBD
Details forthcoming.
2:30 PM
There’s Always Some There There: Writing About Place; Moderator: Amanda Fortini
In the world of wine, the word “terroir” means the characteristic taste imparted by the environment in which the grapes were grown. There’s a literary equivalent: sense of place — the way a writer translates the physical particulars, emotional resonance, and spirit of a specific location into words. That’s something these panelists know very well. In both her fiction and nonfiction, Claire Vaye Watkins — author of the Nevada-set story collection Battleborn and the acclaimed novel Gold Fame Citrus as well as numerous essays — landscape is a shaping force, not just a setting. Joshua Wheeler’s essay collection Acid West is suffused with the distinctive terroir of southern New Mexico. And in his essays about Las Vegas, preludes to a larger book about the city, Joshua Baldwin probes distinctive facets of this most unusual city. Moderated by award-winning journalist and essayist Amanda Fortini.
Illustrated Word Project - Hands-On Art and Poetry Journals 
Nevada Humanities Booth 
10 AM to 2 PM
Stop by the Nevada Humanities booth at the festival to work with Nevada artists and poets and create a poetry or art journal of your own, free while the supplies last. – Anne M. Hoff, Project Lead, Gig Depio, artist, Lolita Hernandez, poet; Elizabeth Quiñones-Zaldaña, poet, Fernando Reyes, artist, Ashley Vargas, poet; and Valentin Yardanov, artist.
Participating hands-on project artists and poets have created temporary tattoo haikus, poems, and designs for a truly mobile art and poetry exhibition at the Las Vegas Book Festival, free while supplies last.